Should liver metastases of breast cancer be biopsied to improve treatment choice?

G. Curigliano, V. Bagnardi, G. Viale, L. Fumagalli, N. Rotmensz, G. Aurilio, M. Locatelli, G. Pruneri, S. Giudici, M. Bellomi, P. Della Vigna, L. Monfardini, F. Orsi, F. Nolé, E. Munzone, A. Goldhirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Currently, the acquisition of tissue from metastatic deposits is not recommended as a routine practice. Our aim was to evaluate the discordance rate of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) receptor status between primary tumor and liver metastases and its potential impact on treatment choice. Patients and methods: Weretrospectively analyzeda database including1250ultrasound-guided liverbiopsies carried out at the European Institute of Oncology from August 1999 to March 2009. ER, PgR, and HER2 status were determined by immunohistochemistry and/or FISH. Differences between proportions were evaluated using Fisher's exact test. Results: We identified 255 consecutive patients with matched primary and liver tissue samples. Changes in ER status were observed in 37 of 255 patients (14.5%). Changes in PgR status were observed in 124 of 255 patients (48.6%). Changes in HER2 status were observed in 24 of 172 assessable patients (13.9%). We observed a discordance in receptor status (ER, PgR, and HER2) between primary tumor and liver metastases, which led to change in therapy for 31 of 255 of patients (12.1%). Conclusions: Biopsy of metastases for reassessment of biological features should be considered in all patients, when safe and easy to carry out, since it is likely to impact treatment choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2227-2233
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Biology of disease
  • Biopsy
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology


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